JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri has made great strides toward providing equitable internet access for schools.
Through a partnership of the Office of the Governor, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and national nonprofit Education SuperHighway, 98 percent of students in Missouri classrooms are able to access the educational applications and content through the internet that they need to prepare for college or a career.
“Having today’s technology available to our students is crucial in preparing our future workforce. We must ensure our classrooms are equipped with the high-speed internet to thrive in today’s economy,” Governor Mike Parson said.
Parson has made infrastructure a key focus of his administration. High-speed internet connectivity is a component of the infrastructure improvements needed in our state. Missouri’s progress in closing the digital divide for schools highlights the work that can be done.
A new report from Education SuperHighway shows that since 2015, an additional 222,389 Missouri students have classroom connectivity at the Federal Communications Commission’s goal of a minimum 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student. Some districts have achieved the newer goal of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) per student.
During the same period, the cost of broadband in Missouri has decreased by 75 percent, from $18 per Mbps in 2015 to $4.48 in 2018. Nationally, the cost of broadband decreased by 72 percent.
“Every school needs the ability to increase internet speeds that can support rapid innovation in K-12 education. We have made progress, but our work is not done,” Parson said.
Although Missouri’s broadband growth can serve as an example for other states looking to offer high-speed internet in schools, there is work yet to be done. According to the report, nearly 38,000 Missouri students need more bandwidth for digital learning, and 20 Missouri schools are still without scalable broadband. In addition, many districts are at risk of losing access to funding. Missouri school districts can learn more by visiting https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/districts/.